Our dog has an interesting habit, at particular times, where she’ll stand in the middle of the room with her back toward us and bark a single bark. Then she’ll turn and look back at us with what looks like a sassy smile on her face! She normally does this after someone has played with her for a few moments or many times after eating her breakfast. When Mandie performed her little act for my wife and I this morning, I asked Piper why she thought the dog did this. Then I answered my own question by declaring that I thought she was trying to get our attention to let us know that she was HAPPY!
Laughter, smiles and joy have always had a big part to play in our marriage as well as in our family. With that in mind, I think the Lord made sure that Piper picked out a dog from the shelter on that Memorial Day weekend eleven years ago that was HAPPY and content and would fit right in with the zany exploits of our family’s daily life!
And speaking of HAPPY… My continued study on being HAPPY pointed me to the ministry today. As I looked up the scriptures that discuss HAPPINESS in the New Testament, I observed that Jesus and the Apostles many times related people’s being HAPPY with the effects of the message of the Good News upon their lives. In Luke 13:17 Jesus compares the difference between those who believed and those who did not.
After He received flak from the religious leaders of the day for healing a women on the Sabbath and explained His actions, it is recorded: “As he (Jesus) said this, everyone who opposed him felt ashamed. But the entire crowd was HAPPY about the miraculous things he was doing.” (God’s Word ©) I think it is interesting to note that those who did not believe Jesus responded to the miracles that accompanied the preaching of the Word with anger, fear and embarrassment, while those who accepted His words and actions as the Good News from heaven were reported as being HAPPY!
Every ministry role I have held in the local church during the past forty years have always been part-time pay positions. Which means that I always also had to have a secular job or two in order to support my family. Many times throughout the seasons of the year, the needs of the ministry demanded full time hours to best meet the requirements of any special programs or activities that we were leading at the church.
Those times, needless to say, tended to put a strain on me and my wife and kids. But I can honestly say that all the extra effort, the long hours of preparation at night or during the day during lunch and breaks at my secular jobs and on weekends, was all worth EVERY minute of it when I would hear the laughter and see the smiling faces of the kids as they participated in the special activities, sang songs or gave my wife and I a hug as they left for the day.
In our years of youth work, the moments when the young adults would forget about their friends standing next to them and lift up their hands in unabashed humility and worship unto the Lord would immediately melt away any tiredness and immerse my being in the joy and glory of the Lord. I always enjoyed planning and putting on special retreats for the youth. Those times camping in the woods and experiencing everyday life closely with our youth was like heaven on earth to me. The one-on-one conversations, the ministry at the end of the evening services, the laughter as well as the tears, made all the long hours of preparation and the push to complete everything in every responsibility I held with the church, my family and at the secular jobs, well worth it!
At those special times I would find myself VERY HAPPY and blessed in knowing and seeing that our ministry students were also blessed and VERY HAPPY – some of them for the first time in their rough young lives! As a leader and participant in the ministry of the Good News of Jesus Christ, I can fully understand the 70 disciple’s joy as it was noted that “The 70 disciples came back very HAPPY. They said, ‘Lord, even demons obey us when we use the power and authority of your name…’” (Luke 10:17 God’s Word ©)
Have you experienced the HAPPINESS of ministering the joy, the truth and most importantly, the love inherent in the message of the Good News? For me it is one of the greatest “highs” ever to be experienced. There is nothing like seeing others become HAPPY by the transformation of their lives as they are saved, blessed and healed by a personal touch of the Lord through you and me! Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to make truly HAPPY today?”